Love Is Not Enough

New company Beg Borrow Steel makes a promising debut with this story of a west London Jamaican family forced to confront their dark past by an estranged daughter who returns for her late father’s memorial service and the Notting Hill Carnival. Playwright Justin Marosa developed and staged a version of … Continue Reading Love Is Not Enough

Cornelius

The Finborough once again demonstrates its keen eye for a timely revival with this gem by JB Priestley. Unseen in London for 70 years, its story of a small import office facing bankruptcy seems painfully prescient. The first half begins as an unhurried, witty sketch of the amusing oddities of … Continue Reading Cornelius

Carousel

With its wife-beating antihero and early dramatic climax, it’s no mean feat to make ‘Carousel’ a satisfying experience. Opera North’s revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most operatic musical is richly orchestrated and vibrant – even if it doesn’t capture all of its darker edges. An impressive set featuring a lightbulb-lit … Continue Reading Carousel

The Revenger’s Tragedy

The engineered cliffhanger that ends the first half of this fast-paced, blackly funny production isn’t followed by a ‘duff duff’, but it could be. This is Jacobean tragedy via ‘EastEnders’ – and it works. Thomas Middleton’s lurid, camp tale of a man’s elaborate revenge on the duke who murdered his … Continue Reading The Revenger’s Tragedy

The Great Gatsby Musical

F Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic novel about 1920s America continues its 2012 onslaught on the British stage with this musical adaptation. Don’t panic about people singing about hit-and-runs though; it’s handled more subtly than that. But perhaps inevitably, some of the book’s desolate beauty and power is missing. Linnie Reedman has … Continue Reading The Great Gatsby Musical

Julius Caesar

‘Julius Caesar’ is a harder sell as an outdoor family show than ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, which Principal Theatre Company is staging in Coram’s Fields on alternate days. In response, director Paul Gladwin has put everything in modern dress and upped the comedy quotient. We get football-style chants at Caesar’s … Continue Reading Julius Caesar

The Fear of Breathing

The Finborough is keeping time with real life in this harrowing verbatim piece, knitted together from secret interviews conducted in Syria by journalists Paul Wood and Ruth Sherlock and director Zoe Lafferty. A clamour of voices – including a hotel owner, a radio DJ, a student activist and members of … Continue Reading The Fear of Breathing

Interview: Gregory Doran

Newly appointed RSC artistic director Gregory Doran talks to Tom Wicker about his Africa-set production of ‘Julius Caesar’ Gregory Doran is keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to his plans for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Although he takes over from Michael Boyd as artistic director from … Continue Reading Interview: Gregory Doran

The Trojan War and Peace

The Scoop’s sunken amphitheatre is a natural fit for Phil Willmott’s ambitious adaptation of Aeschylus’s ‘Oresteia’ trilogy, the latest in Steam Industry Theatre’s annual series of free outdoor shows. The sequence kicks off with the child-friendly ‘The Trojan Horse’, which makes a song and dance of the siege of Troy … Continue Reading The Trojan War and Peace

Barbarians

The volume of ‘Barbarians’ rarely drops below a shout. But Barrie Keeffe’s searing late-’70s depiction of a Britain that chews up its young and spits them out into a brutalising wasteland of broken promises and joblessness works best at high volume. Three linked plays about three lads explore with bruising … Continue Reading Barbarians

Neighbourhood Watch

Alan Ayckbourn’s brand of Little Britain social comedy has wrapped itself around many subjects over the years. Here, directing as well as writing, he tackles a Big Society-ish world with disarming wit. When a garden gnome is lobbed through a window, the Daily Mail-inflamed residents of Bluebell Hill Development take … Continue Reading Neighbourhood Watch

Mary Rose

Matthew Parker’s version of this ghost story by JM Barrie is often mournfully beautiful, capturing the play’s dark swell of loss and need. It’s 1919 and Harry has returned to his family home after years abroad and time in the army. But the Sussex house, although locked up, is not … Continue Reading Mary Rose